Parts Manufacturer Negligence Results in Military Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Kohl, et al. v. Triumph

On March 16, 2013, an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed during a test-fire exercise north of Kandahar, Afghanistan. At the time of the incident, the helicopter had performed a shallow dive, leveled off, and then entered a climbing right turn to repeat the maneuver. At that point, the helicopter’s engine failed, and, as the main rotor was not spinning fast enough, the helicopter nosed left and then crashed. The pilot was killed, while the passenger/pilot aboard suffered serious injuries. A post-crash investigation showed that the Engine Control Unit (ECU), which is contained in the EMC-35 FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), failed. The FADEC is a digital computer that controls fuel flow to the engine. When it failed, the reduced fuel flow caused the rotor to spin more slowly, causing the crash.

A Positive Outcome for Our Clients

Slack Davis Sanger represented the estate and family of the soldier who died and the soldier who was injured. The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturers of the FADEC and ECU knew about the flaws and had ignored other instances of substantially similar failures. They had tried to implement modifications which failed to remedy the problems. In addition to knowing about the problems with the FADEC, the manufacturers also concealed these defects, even though they knew they were likely to contribute to or cause dangerous or deadly accidents. Slack Davis Sanger helped to secure a large settlement for these soldiers and their families, impacted tragically by the negligence of the parts manufacturers.

Ladd Sanger is an attorney and a licensed pilot who focuses on aviation accidents, including product liability, product litigation, and representing clients who have been injured as a result of aviation accidents. His experience as a pilot helps him understand the technical aspects of aviation crashes.

Mike Slack has been practicing law for over 36 years and has litigated hundreds of lawsuits. His experience as a licensed pilot and former NASA aerospace engineer gives him unique insight into aviation accident lawsuits.

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